NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


October 10, 2007

It's not easy to keep track of all the times Chicago hits you with a tax because it has about two dozen different -- and sometimes obscure and stealthy -- ways to do it, says the Chicago Tribune.

Some of the taxes imposed by the city are paid exclusively by Chicago residents, including:

  • A 7 percent "telecommunications tax" on phone bills as well as a monthly assessment of $1.25 per line to help defray the cost of the city's 911 center.
  • A $30 to $90 a year tax for car owners, known in tax collector parlance as the "wheel tax."
  • A real estate transfer tax on homes and other property of $7.50 for each $1,000 of sales price.

Other levies apply not only to Chicagoans but others who spend money in the city, for instance:

  • A special 0.25 percent tax on restaurant bills; a tax on sales of wine, beer and spirits purchased at package goods stores.
  • A tax on motorists who park in garages and lots; and a tax on admissions to off-track betting parlors, not to be confused with another tax on bets placed there.
  • A 4.49 percent city hotel tax, a 5.64 percent state tax, along with two other taxes brings the total hotel tax to 14.59 percent.

There's more:

  • The federal government already receives $13.50 on the sale of every gallon of distilled liquor and the state another $4.50, but that didn't stop Cook County from slapping on its $2 levy and the city its $1.50.
  • And for Cigarettes, the federal government gets 39 cents on every pack sold in Chicago, the state 98 cents, the city 68 cents and Cook County a whopping $2.

Source: Gary Washburn, "Tax Day is every day in Chicago," Chicago Tribune, October 10, 2007.


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